July 8, 2013

7/5/13 - Springfield Armory NHS

Armory Building now used for Museum and Gun Collections
If you expected George to appreciate the Springfield Armory National Historic Site more than I would, you know us both pretty well! 

The Springfield Armory opened in 1777, chosen by George Washington and Henry Knox.  It was the country's first and largest manufacturer of firearms for the US military until they closed it in 1968.  I didn't know that. 
Original Armory Administration Building and Gate
Spiral Staircase in Armory Tower

Okay, it made sense to me that guns were stored in an armory, and if it was one Washington selected, then it would now be a national memorial or historic site or something.  And it doesn't surprise me that an armory would have guns, but I didn't know they'd have more than anywhere else in the world.  There are some in the museum, and lots more stashed upstairs in climate controlled rooms.

Blanchard Lathe

However...I had no idea that the United States actually manufactured guns!  And I certainly didn't realize that gun manufacturing was one of the first places where mass production was done.  In 1819 a man named Blanchard developed a special lathe to make identical rifle stocks. 

George knew more about Springfield guns than I did, of course, so he paid more attention to the rifles in the displays.  I wandered around the cases a little bit and registered that they were there. 
Organ of Muskets
I did like the "Organ of Muskets", a double storage rack which holds 645 Springfield US Model 1861 rifle muskets.  It's the only one left in the world.  It's mentioned in Longfellow's anti-war poem The Arsenal at Springfield .   (George was looking at the guns.)

I looked around in the Visitor Center shop checking out the t-shirts and postcards and books.  I didn't know Dr. Seuss was (a) from Springfield or (b) drew political cartoons in WWII.  Sort of puts a different focus on "Green Eggs and Ham", doesn't it?  (George was still looking at guns.)
The industrial display was at the other side of the building.  Didn't take me long to look at the tools...and George was still looking at guns.
Finally--George finished looking at the guns, and we both finished talking to the ranger.  Outside we look at buildings from when this was a military post.
Quarters 1, Commanding Officer's Home
Sadly neglected duplex for Junior Officers
For more pictures from Springfield Armory, here's the link

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